23rd Aug2004

Knight Rider and Me

by Will

So, I’ve reinstated “Operation: Childhood Buyback”. Basically, whenever I get depressed or confused, I try to create a bubble of nostalgia around myself in order to feel better. The best way to do this is for me to buy back the relics of my childhood.

Anyway, the most effective branch of this initiative deals with TV. I’ve bought several 80’s TV DVDs, such as the first seasons of Punky Brewster, The A-Team, and Knight Rider.

Tonight’s topic is Knight Rider. When I was a kid, I LOVED this show. I don’t think “love” even cuts it. There is no English word to describe the feelings I had for this show. I think it’s because of how it relates to my life. I used to watch it with my dad, so it kind of has that sentiment attached to it. Also, for my 4th birthday/Christmas, I got the K.I.T.T. Power Wheels car, which is still in my shed, by the way. That was the year Daddy died, so it was a trying holiday season, but I remember how happy I was to get that car! In fact, Knight Rider and my dad’s death are intertwined in several different ways.

When my father’s funeral came about, they didn’t think a 3 yr-old needed to be at the service, so they had my cousin run interference. She took me to Toys R Us, where I got an electronic K.I.T.T. I still remember that to this day.

Why is all of this important? Well, for many seemingly coincidental reasons. Here I am, watching Knight Rider Season 1, when my cousin, on my father’s side, passes away. In the meantime, Toys “R” Us is considering exiting the toy business. “The more things change…”

I guess one would ask, “Why do you love that show so much if it’s got so many bad memories attached?” Well, they weren’t bad memories. I didn’t know what was going on. I found out about funerals and the like as I grew older. I’ve posted about this before, but I simply looked at that as “the day all my relatives came to visit me/the day i got my Knight Rider car”.

So, now reality sets in. I’m watching these episodes, and trying to recapture what i felt 20 yrs ago. But ya know what? This show sucks. I am so sorry to say that. I feel almost like it’s blasphemy for me to do so, but this show is formulaic dreck.

Let’s see. Some town gets in trouble. Michael and K.I.T.T. are dispatched to right wrongs, and uphold justice in the name of the Foundation for Law and Government. Conveniently, there is always a hot single MILF and/or waitress who becomes Michael’s tour guide/potential love interest. Throw in a couple of bumbling henchmen and any reason at all to get K.I.T.T. to jump over a gorge, river, truck, or building, and you’ve got a typical episode of Knight Rider. No, you’ve got EVERY episode of Knight Rider!

To my recollection, there are only 2 episodes worth remembering: 1) “K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R.”, where Michael is forced to go against the evil prototype named K.A.R.R. If you’ve never seen two Trans Ams collide in midair, this is the episode for you & 2) “Knight of The Juggernaut”, where K.I.T.T. gets the living shit smashed out of it by a big ol’ tank. He was never the same after that…

Well, I’ve got a funeral in about 8 hrs, and about half a season left of Knight Rider. Let’s hope between the two, I can come up with some kind of understanding of life…

11th Aug2004

Toys “R” Us Go Bye-Bye?

by Will

This is the worst news I’ve read in some time. You all know how I think. Forget the war. Forget terror alerts. News like this shatters my world:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2004-08-11-toys_x.htm?csp=26&RM_Exclude=Juno

So, what DOES happen to a dream deferred? Looks like I’m about to find out…

04th Jun2004

My War On Harry Potter Explained

by Will

If there was ever a risk of the Nerd population being in danger, tonight is the night. You see, the horn-rimmed elite will all be huddled together in one place: The opening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Why do I criticize Potter fans so? Well, in case I haven’t written about this before (it’s been a year, so I’m starting to forget all my rant topics), I HATE HARRY POTTER. I think JK Rowling is a hack. I don’t see anything original about this franchise. In fact, I feel all of her ideas are culled from the classic works of Roald Dahl (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Matilda”, “James and the Giant Peach”). Dahl died a pauper, and a suspected child molester, while Rowling is wiping her butt with hundreds (which are in pounds, not dollars, so it’s a lot more than you think it is!).

Wow, beans that taste like anything! Great job, JK. You ever had a gobstopper in your life?!! Plus, who cares if they taste like anything? “Oh no, this one tastes like grass!!” Real original, you British twit.

Harry’s introduction to Hogwarts is a complete reinterpretation of Charlie’s introduction to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Wow, Harry’s aunt and uncle treat him like shit. Boo, hoo, hoo! In “Matilda”, her parents treated her like shit until…wait, she discovered she had magical powers. Sound familiar?

I also hate what the HP franchise stands for. Initially, it was commendable if only for the sole fact that it was getting children to read. The first batch were those NPR kids, whose hippy parents wouldn’t let them watch TV, so it was a preferred form of entertainment. Next came the soccer moms, and the busy professionals reading on their commutes to work. Soon, HP Mania spread across the land. But why? Ok, they’re decent reads, but why ain’t I seeing a Hardy Boys movie in the works? Or the Boxcar Children? To me, that’s the level HP is on.

I also hate that the franchise has sold out. As I said before, it inspired people to read. But to make movies, they’re cutting out the middle man. Sure, the vast majority of people are gonna do the whole read/watch comparison. But many people are just gonna wait for the movies. Then, Mattel got the license to produce HP action figures. The HP brand gained momentum simply by appealing to the no TV, no action figure crowd. Now, all of a sudden, there are HP action figures! That’s like opening the country club up so the ghetto kids can have a run of the place: Yeah, it might sound nice in theory, and be a pretty sweet tax write-off, but you’re still gonna be picking up cans of grape soda for weeks to come. What I’m saying is that, yeah, you’ve got a franchise that now appeals to everyone, but does that cause the HP franchise to lose integrity? Also, why the Hell is it so popular? It’s becoming the literary equivalent of Apple Jacks: You ask anyone why they love HP, and they simply reply, “We just do, that’s all.”

Well, I guess it’s good to know that crack now comes in more forms than rock and powder ’cause I see this as the same thing. Y’all enjoy your addictions for now, but it’s only a matter of time before Rowling kills Harry in the last book, leaving you jonesing for a fix, and finally realizing she’s nothing but a children’s John Grisham: she’s feeding you shit you’ve shat before and you’re too dumb to realize it.

And don’t worry, Mr. Dahl. I’m still lauding your praises. I know you didn’t touch those kids…

18th Apr2004

Great Weekend Involving VA, The Punisher, and Kill Bill Vol 2

by Will

OK, let’s see if I still remember how this goes. As much as I hate to admit it, you all know how I LOVE being the resident Eeyore, but this has actually been a great weekend. Got off work yesterday @ 5, which is simply unheard of. Then, I got my long-awaited reunion with VA. Amazing, we’ve known each other for years, but it was the first time we’ve ever gotten drunk together. Anyway, with Alabama Slammers and Chicken Fried Rice, that girl certainly knows how to have a good time. Plus, I now know the Metro goes right to her house, so it’s not gonna be one of those “only-reachable-by-car”. Didn’t get home til about 4 AM ’cause of friggin’ maintenance on the Red Line. I was actually scared I might get stranded in DC, and I mean the Bad DC.

Today was just as crazy and action-packed as yesterday. Finally got some bills paid, which is good ’cause it means I’m being responsible. It’s bad, though, ’cause I’m out $250. Anyway, I think Verizon and I know where each other stands from this day forward. 😛

Anyway, I had to “observe” Wednesday today, meaning I had to get my comics ’cause I was working when they came out on Wednesday. As a caveat, I got SO MUCH Punisher swag today! Free movie poster @ the shop, and free comic at the movie, but more on that later.

After the shop, I just kinda walked around. It was such a nice day, and I didn’t want to waste it. I ended up walking to Toys “R” Us, which turned out to be really weird. Normally, I can slip in unnoticed, and slip back out. Today, however, everyone I ever worked with seemed to be there, and they were all so friendly. They said they genuinely missed me, and it truly felt like it. To be honest, I miss them too. I don’t think I’d ever go back there, but I still love kids and toys. Neither of these loves are being fulfilled @ H&M.

Anyway, I eventually made my way to Silver Spring to comic shop #2, and found the sweetest poster. The guy didn’t know how much to sell it for, for fear of his manager firing him. So, I put it on hold and have to call back tomorrow. I’ll describe it tomorrow if the deal goes through.

Eventually, I met up with Brett and we went to dinner & The Punisher. So, what did I think of The Punisher? He simply didn’t punish enough. He was way too much of a wise-cracking smart-ass for a guy who watched his entire extended family massacred. That was part of the problem. The whole movie was overkill. It was like a bad WWF match. For example, in the comic, Frank Castle’s wife, son, and daughter are caught in mob crossfire, which drives him crazy and causes him to become The Punisher. In the movie, Castle’s entire family, including parents, aunts, cousins, etc, are massacred during a beachfront family reunion. There was no need for them to kill 50+ people! We get the point. It’s kinda like how Eminem wants us to know how he really, really loves his daughter. Enough already. In the end, I enjoyed the movie, but I thought he’d be more stoic than he actually was.

After the movie, I did something rare: I went out again! Don’t ask me why, ’cause it’s certainly not a normal thing, but I met up with Davis and we went to see Kill Bill Vol. II. I can’t even begin to attempt to give a review to that movie. I’ll just say awesome. And not in that “Matrix/Star Wars-justification of crappy sequel” kind of way. Simply awesome movie. Tarantino turned a cliche into something amusing and enjoyable. On the other hand, I can’t wait to hear all the gripes my “debate partner” is going to have regarding the movie’s political incorrectness; we haven’t even discussed “The Apprentice” finale, so I know he’ll be charged and ready to go. Anyway, I know the Japanese, and some Jewish, organizations are gonna be up in arms Monday morning, so Quentin, prepare for the backlash. Regardless, a job well-done.

22nd Nov2003

NYC Excursion

by Will

WOW, it’s been a LONG time! I forgot my password for the past weeks, plus I don’t exactly have regular access to the i-net these days. So much to tell, so little energy. A few bullets:

-Actually hearing back from toy companies. Toys R Us Corporate good, Hasbro bad

-Ran away from home to NYC for a week. Came home when money ran out. In the meantime, I saw Soledad O’Brien on the street and Dave Chappelle in the Virgin Megastore. Saw Matrix in IMAX; it STILL sucked, but it did so beautifully. Went to Toys R Us Times Square. I truly believe it is an exact replica of what Heaven must be like. There’s a friggin Ferris Wheel in that place! It truly is “The Center of the Toy Universe”!

17th Sep2003

I Also Miss Juvenile Sales…

by Will

“Lionel Kiddie City turns a frown… upside down!”

Boy, do I miss that! Christmas is right around the corner, folks.

04th Aug2003

Still Trying To Work In The Toy Industry

by Will

So, I just sent an application in to Mattel. I figure it’s time to get this toy thing started. Ithaca’s trying to send me a message, and I’m never gonna do anything unless I’m pushed. Seems like I’m being pushed, so hopefully this’ll turn out better than those apps to Marvel & DC that I haven’t heard back from.